Greetings 49er Faithful, and welcome to College Football's Bowl season! With college football's postseason upon us, it is officially the final stretch of the NFL regular season, which means the giddiness of the draft portion of the NFL offseason is fast approaching - a godsend for teams at the bottom of the barrel.
It has been a down year for the 49ers in terms of wins, but the drastic rebuild has shown hopeful expectations for the future. A future of real progression under the guidance of General Manager John Lynch and Head Coach Kyle Shannon, lock-in-step determined to bring forth the team out from the pits of despair.
Today we highlight five college football bowl games occurring on Saturday, 16th. Many of the schools in action are not household names, but there are several noticeable draft-eligible prospects taking the field worthy of attention. We kick things off with the top five draft-eligible players, both on the offensive and the defensive sides of the ball playing in today's match-ups. So, sit back, put your scouting hat on, and let's get things started with college football's postseason.
* = indicates junior status
Top 5 Players on Offense
RB Royce Freeman, No. 21, 5’11” - 231 lbs., 4.54 40 - (3rd-4th) - Oregon
WR Michael Gallup, No. 4, 6’2” - 200 lbs., 4.52 40 - (3rd-4th) - Colorado State
OT Tyrell Crosby, No. 73, 6’5” - 320 lbs., 5.29 40 - (4th) - Oregon
WR Cedrick Wilson, No. 1, 6’3” - 188 lbs., 4.49 40 - (5th) - Boise State
*TE Ari Werts, No. 88, 6’4” - 225 lbs., 4.68 40 - (5th-6th) - Georgia State
Top 5 Players on Defense
*OLB Leighton Vander Esch, No. 38, 6’4” - 242 lbs., 4.79 40 - (2nd) - Boise State
DE Ja’Von Rolland-Jones, No. 11, 6’2” - 244 lbs., 4.74 40 (5th) - Arkansas State
CB Chandon Sullivan, No. 10, 5’11” - 195 lbs., 4.5s 40 - (5th) - Georgia State
CB Arrion Springs, No. 1, 5’11” - 205 lbs., 4.55 40 - (7th) - Oregon
CB Michael Minter, No. 6, 6’0” - 177 lbs., 4.50 40 - (7th-UDFA) - Middle Tennessee
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Conference Affiliations: Sun Belt vs. Conference USA
Location: New Orleans, LA | Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Game time: 10:00 AM PT
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Bowl gift swag: Gift suite; Fossil watch.
Troy's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
RB Jordan Chunn, No. 38, 6’1” - 231 lbs., 4.67 40 - (6th-7th)
RB Jordan Chunn is a physical and aggressive in between the tackles bruising downhill running back with nice burst, patience, vision, and excellent power to his game. He shows decent foot speed, has enough wiggle to make consecutive moves in a short area, but excels with his balance, patience, and instincts to win inside powering through daylight. Chunn does not possess elite speed, but has some lateral quickness to bounce outside and the lean, good pad level, momentum and solid balance generating a lot of power in his thick frame breaking tackles always falling forward. He’s a grinder.
Other Trojan’s to keep an eye on:
QB Brandon Silvers, No. 12, 6’3” - 219 lbs., 4.80 40 - (7th-UDFA)
OG/OT Steven Rowzee, No. 67, 6’3” - 310 lbs., - (UDFA)
North Texas's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
RB Jeffery Wilson, No. 3, 6’0” - 205 lbs., 4.53 40 - (6th-7th)
RB Jeffery Wilson is a complete running back with good speed, explosion, quickness, and strength. He runs with suddenness and fluidity with an explosive burst showcasing great patience and vision, impressive cuts, and runs with solid balance and a great lean. Wilson has fluid feet, very agile, and great change of direction skills with terrific flexibility and tremendous balance. A threat in the passing game, he is a solid pass catcher with nice reliable hands (extends to make catch) and route running. Excels in a zone scheme. *UPDATE: Wilson will miss the Bowl game with a ankle injury.
Other Mean Green’s to keep an eye on:
FS Kishawn McClain, No. 6, 5’11” - 187 lbs., 4.5s 40 - (7th-UDFA)
AutoNation Cure Bowl
Conference Affiliations: Conference USA vs. Sun Belt
Location: Orlando, FL | Camping World Stadium
Game time: 11:30 AM PT
Channel: CBS Sports Network
Live Stream: CBS Sports Live Video
Bowl gift swag: Watch; backpack; warm up suit pants and jacket; Dri-Fit shirt long-sleeve shirt; hat
Western Kentucky's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
QB Mike White, No. 14, 6’4” - 225 lbs., 4.87 40 - (6th)
QB Mike White has the prototypical NFL build standing 6-foot-4-inches tall and weighing 225 pounds. White stands tall and is extremely poised in the pocket displaying good movement with an excellent ability to navigate and move the pocket with his feet. He showcases a big arm capable of making throws in all three levels of the field. Shows impressive arm strength and zip in tight windows and possesses solid touch, good ball placement (impressive deep ball), accuracy, and a decent job on anticipation throws. Operates exclusively in shotgun, so will need work from operating under center.
Other Hilltoppers to keep an eye on:
TE Deon Yelder, No. 19, 6’4” - 255 bs., - (7th-UDFA)
DT Chris Johnson, No. 3, 6’2” - 290 lbs., 5.08 40 - (UDFA)
CB Joe Brown, No. 7, 5’10” - 195 lbs., 4.58 40 - (7th-UDFA)
Georgia State's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
CB Chandon Sullivan, No. 10, 5’11” - 195 lbs., 4.5s 40 - (5th)
CB Chandon Sullivan offers a nice combination of size, length (long arms), strength, athleticism, speed, and leadership skills to the position. The former high basketball athlete is a physical and aggressive press corner with solid instincts (high football IQ) and burst to excel in zone with the capability of playing inside-out. Sullivan is a fluid corner with smooth hips and shows a sound ability to stick at the hip pocket trailing and recovering maintaining his physical competitiveness at the point of attack, as well as a good ability to play the ball down the field and judge the ball in the air with sound ball skills. Also does a good job in run support.
Other Panthers to keep an eye on:
*TE Ari Werts, No. 88, 6’4” - 225 lbs., 4.68 40 - (5th-6th)
Las Vegas Bowl
No. 25 Boise State Broncos vs. Oregon Ducks
Conference Affiliations: Mountain West vs. Pac-12
Location: Las Vegas, NV | Sam Boyd Stadium
Game time: 12:30 PM PT
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Bowl gift swag: Gift suite; Oakley backpack and tag; hat; Rock ‘Em socks; beanie.
Boise State’s draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
*OLB Leighton Vander Esch, No. 38, 6’4” - 242 lbs., 4.79 40 - (2nd)
OLB Leighton Vander Esch is a former walk-on athlete that has exploded into prominence in 2017. The former high school football, basketball, and track and field athlete is a tackling machine and the 2017 Mountain West Player of the Year. Vander Esch is an amazing and explosive athlete with great speed and quickness running sideline-to-sideline chasing down ball carriers, wreaks havoc in the backfield as a punishing blitzer (superb closing speed), terrific instincts with a nose for the ball, plays with great suddenness, and is solid in coverage with excellent range. He offers excellent length, size, and instincts to be a three-down prospect at the next level with the versatility to play outside and inside. A scheme diverse prospect, Vander Esch is an absolute playmaker.
Other Broncos to keep an eye on:
WR Cedrick Wilson, No. 1, 6’3” - 188 lbs., 4.49 40 - (5th)
TE Jake Roh, No. 88, 6’3” - 227 lbs., 4.77 40 - (7th)
OG/OT Archie Lewis, No. 74, 6’3” - 300 lbs., 5.19 40 (7th-UDFA)
C Mason Hampton, No. 59, 6’3” - 303 lbs., 5.28 40 - (7th-UDFA)
Oregon's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
RB Royce Freeman, No. 21, 5’11” - 231 lbs., 4.54 40 - (3rd-4th)
RB Royce Freeman is a big back with an excellent combination of size, speed, power, and vision. A powerful runner with great balance, Freeman is a downhill runner displaying the suddenness in short areas (good feet), the patience to let plays develop, a great feel with sound instincts, and impressive burst behind power making him quite a load to bring down. Moreover, Freeman displays soft hands as a pass catcher and is adept in finding holes on defense, as well as being solid in pass protection, a valued necessity for the next level.
At times Freeman can be indecisive as runner, looking to juke with elusiveness or bounce out rather than finishing off with power, which is his bread and butter. He lacks elite break-away speed, but has good speed and elusiveness to be a home run hitter. *UPDATE: Freeman will sit out and not play in the Bowl game by his choice.
Other Ducks to keep an eye on:
WR Charles Nelson, No. 6, 5’8” - 177 lbs., 4.47 40 - (6th)
OT Tyrell Crosby, No. 73, 6’5” - 320 lbs., 5.29 40 - (4th)
CB Arrion Springs, No. 1, 5’11” - 205 lbs., 4.55 40 - (7th)
FS/CB Tyree Robinson, No. 2, 6’4” - 205 lbs., 4.56 40 - (7th-UDFA)
LS Tanner Carew, No. 58, 6’2” - 240 lbs., 4.96 40 - (7th-UDFA)
Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Conference Affiliations: Conference USA vs. Mountain West
Location: Albuquerque, NM | Branch Field at Dreamstyle Stadium
Game time: 1:30 PM PT
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Bowl gift swag: Gift suite; Oakley sunglasses; Oakley 5-Speed backpack; Lit tumbler; beanie; Gildan stadium blanket; cap; Fidget Spinner.
Marshall's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
TE Ryan Yurachek, No. 85, 6’3” - 239 lbs., 4.85 40 - (7th)
TE Ryan Yurachek is an undersized tight end prospect displaying the ability to separate and get away from man coverage with good suddenness, and is a natural pass catcher showcasing reliable soft hands that he extends away from his body, and good route running. He shows great skills releasing from the line of scrimmage with good speed, and nice suddenness in his game showing the ability to separate from defenders. Will need to improve blocking technique at the next level.
Other Thundering Herd to keep an eye on:
CB Rodney Allen, No. 11, 5’11” - 190 lbs., 4.54 40 - (UDFA)
Colorado State's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
WR Michael Gallup, No. 4, 6’2” - 200 lbs., 4.52 40 - (3rd-4th)
WR Michael Gallup is a big physical receiver with great speed and length (solid redzone target). He displays good explosion and burst off the line of scrimmage, does a great job working his strong hands and quick feet in concert to win at the point of attack (excellent size and strength to counteract when pressed), shows fluidity in route running, has the ability to break in and out of cuts and separate from defensive backs with nice suddenness.
Gallup showcases a great ability to elevate attacking the football at its highest point with strong reliable hands (extends arms to make the catch), solid body control, and excellent ball skills (impressive vision to track passes over the shoulder). Showcases play making ability to take a short pass and explode and separate with elusiveness and running fast in pads. Has the versatility to line up in the slot and out wide, and displays great effort blocking downfield.
Other Rams to keep an eye on:
QB Nick Stevens, No. 7, 6’3”- 215 lbs., 4.84 40 - (7th)
OT Zack Golditch, No. 61, 6’6” - 295 lbs., 5.21 40 - (7th-UDFA)
OG/OT Trae Moxley, No. 60, 6’6” - 330 lbs., 5.06 40 - (7th-UDFA)
C Jake Bennett, No. 77, 6’3” - 290 lbs., 5.32 40 - (6th)
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
Conference Affiliations: Conference USA vs. Sun Belt
Location: Montgomery, AL | Cramton Bowl
Game time: 5:00 PM PT
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Bowl gift swag: Gift suite; Fossil watch; beanie; Ogio duffle bag; Big Game autograph football
Middle Tennessee's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
CB Mike Minter Jr., No. 6, 6’0” - 181 lbs., 4.50 40 - (7th-UDFA)
CB Mike Minter Jr. brings decent size to the position with great length and range. The former high school football, basketball, and track and field athlete displays fluidity to his game with solid ball skills, sound awareness, does well playing with his back against the quarterback, shows patience in coverage, and great in zone coverage (good instincts and burst). He is a willing and aggressive tackler.
Other Blue Raiders to keep an eye on:
CB Charvarius Ward, No. 2, 6’1” - 192 lbs., - (7th-UDFA)
K Canon Rooker, No. 15, 5’11” - 189 lbs., - (UDFA)
Arkansas State's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
DE/OLB Ja’Von Rolland-Jones, No. 11, 6’2” - 244 lbs., 4.74 40 (5th)
DE/OLB Ja’Von Rolland-Jones is an edge prospect showcasing a solid combination of speed, flexibility, and a relentless motor bending well coming off the edge with good foot quickness and speed. A bit undersized at 6-foot-2-inches, Rolland-Jones is an explosive and aggressive edge player with a quick burst off the line of scrimmage showcasing good change of direction skills, strength at the point of attack, solid instincts, and is a ferocious player that has a nose for the ball with impressive closing speed and a high relentless motor.
Displaying a good ability to set the edge, Rolland-Jones has solid read and react skills, great awareness and discipline always maintaining containment, stacks and sheds with good technique, and overall is great against the run, showcases good speed to power off the edge and can set the edge in the run game, but will need to gain more play strength at the next level. Has the frame that can add additional bulk.
Other Red Wolves to keep an eye on:
TE Blake Mack, No. 16, 6’3” - 245 lbs., 4.78 40 - (7th-UDFA)
DT Dee Liner, No. 25, 6’3” - 325 lbs., 5.22 40 - (7th-UDFA)
CB Blaise Taylor, No. 1, 5’9” - 163 lbs., 4.51 40 - (UDFA)
Player measurables courtesy of team pages. 40 times projected.